Some of you might be wondering who I'm talking about. Odds are, you already know this person under a different name. The anniversary of his death was just last week.
He was born in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, but grew up in Lansing, Michigan. He had six siblings, two half-sisters, and a half-brother. Everyone in his immediate family was black. His father was killed by racists and his mother was locked up in a mental institution. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade. Growing up wasn't easy.
As a teenager, he moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister, Ella. His height made him look mature for his age, so he was able to get a job shining shoes. He learned to dance, bought wild-looking suits (they were fashionable at the time), and made friends with an older crowd. He even met a girl, Sophia.